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Notable New Nonfiction: January 2018

Here are some highlights from the new nonfiction titles added to the catalog recently.

Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.

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America's Greatest Library: An Illustrated History of the Library of Congress by John Young Cole

Packed with fascinating facts, compelling images, and little-known nuggets of information, this new go-to illustrated guide to the history of the Library of Congress will appeal to history buffs and general readers alike. It distils over two hundred years of history into an engaging read that makes a Washington icon relevant today.

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Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride by David DeSteno

A pioneering psychologist reveals how three emotions can provide the surest, quickest route to success in any realm. A string of bestsellers have alerted us to the importance of grit - an ability to persevere and control one's impulses that is so closely associated with greatness. But no book yet has charted the most accessible and powerful path to grit: our prosocial emotions. These feelings - gratitude, compassion and pride - are easier to generate than the willpower and self-denial that underpin traditional approaches to grit. And, while willpower is quickly depleted, prosocial emotions actually become stronger the more we use them. These emotions have another crucial advantage: they're contagious. Those around us become more likely to apply them when we do. No matter what our goals are, EMOTIONAL SUCCESS can help us achieve them with greater ease and deeper satisfaction than we would have thought possible.

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Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia by Michael Shermer

A scientific exploration into humanity's obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer. In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans' belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like--or that it even exists--today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective.

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Craeft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alex Langlands

Combining deep history with scientific analyses and personal anecdotes, an archaeologist and medieval historian searches for the lost meaning of craft, taking us into the ancient world of traditional crafts where we will be connected with our human past, our sense of place and our extraordinary capacity to survive in the harshest of landscapes. When it first appeared in Old English, the word craft signified an indefinable sense of knowledge, wisdom, and resourcefulness. Reaching back as far as the Neolithic Period, we follow the author as he herds sheep, keeps bees, tans hides, spins wool, and thatches roofs. We learn that scythes work much better on tall grass than the latest model of weed trimmers, that you can spin wool using a large wooden spoon, and that it was once considered criminal to work on animal hides before a requisite twelve-month soak. Craft helps us more fully appreciate human ingenuity and the passing on of traditions from generation to generation.

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Automatic Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor by Virginia Eubanks

A powerful investigative look at data-based discrimination--and how technology affects civil and human rights and economic equity. Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems--rather than humans--control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor. In Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile.

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This Idea is Brilliant: Lost, Overlooked, and Underappreciated Scientific Concepts Everyone Should Know by John Brockman

The latest volume in the bestselling series from "the world's smartest website" by The Guardian--brings together 206 of the world's most innovative thinkers to discuss the scientific concepts that everyone should know. As science informs public policy, decision making, and so many aspects of our everyday lives, a scientifically literate society is crucial. In that spirit, publisher and author of Know This, John Brockman, asks 206 of the world's most brilliant minds the 2017 Edge Question: What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known? Contributors include Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Carlo Rovelli, Jared Diamond, Brian Eno and many more.

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When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink

Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don't know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of "when" decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork. Timing, it's often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science. How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married? Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed.

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Chinese Soul Food: A Friendly Guide for Homemade Dumplings, Stir-Fries, Soups, and More by Hsiao-Ching Chou

Chinese food is more popular than any other cuisine and yet it often intimidates North American home cooks. Chinese Soul Food draws cooks into the kitchen with recipes that include sizzling potstickers, stir-fries that are unbelievably easy to make, saucy braises, and soups that bring comfort with a sip. These are dishes that feed the belly and speak the universal language of "mmm!" You'll find approachable recipes and plenty of tips for favorite homestyle Chinese dishes, such as red-braised pork belly, dry-fried green beans, braised-beef noodle soup, green onion pancakes, garlic eggplant, and the author's famous potstickers, which consistently sell out her cooking classes in Seattle.

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Late Essays: 2006-2017 by J. M. Coetzee

A new collection of twenty-three literary essays from the Nobel Prize–winning author. J. M. Coetzee is not only one of the most acclaimed fiction writers in the world, he is also an accomplished and insightful literary critic. In Late Essays: 2006–2016, a thought-provoking collection of twenty-three pieces, he examines the work of some of the world’s greatest writers, from Daniel Defoe in the early eighteenth century to Goethe and Irène Némirovsky to Coetzee’s contemporary Philip Roth. Challenging yet accessible, literary master Coetzee writes these essays with great clarity and precision, offering readers an illuminating and wise analysis of a remarkable list of works of international literature that span three centuries.

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The Great Cowboy Strike: Bullets, Ballots, and Class Conflicts in the American West by Mark Lause

Although later made an icon of “rugged individualism,” the American cowboy was a grossly exploited and underpaid seasonal worker, who waged a series of militant strikes in the generally isolated and neglected corners of the Old West. Mark Lause examines those neglected labour conflicts, couching them in the context of the bitter and violent “range wars” that broke out periodically across the region, and locating both among the political insurgencies endemic to the American West in the so-called Gilded Age.

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When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cuillors

From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity. Patrisse Cullors' story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful. In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.

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Stronger Than the Struggle: Uncomplicating Your Spiritual Battle by Havilah Cunnington

We all face challenges. On any given day, the problems of real life can take our breaths away. Our marriages, finances, relationships, and health are regular struggles, and that's just the beginning. Doesn't the Bible say the war has already been won? So why do we still battle? With humor and honesty, Cunnington lays out practical tools to thrive in the face of hardship, enabling us to walk forward in the confidence that, because of Jesus, we really are stronger than the struggle.